Pubdate: Wed, 09 Feb 2000
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Redding Record Searchlight - E.W. Scripps
Contact:  PO Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397

A criminal charge has been dropped in the case of Shane Navarro, who had
been expected to be the next Shasta County medicinal marijuana user to be
tried for possession of marijuana for sale.

"We reviewed the case and made the determination that it was not
appropriate to proceed," Shasta County District Attorney McGregor Scott
said Tuesday. He declined to elaborate.

"That's all I'm going to say," Scott answered to additional questions about
why the charge was dropped and whether Navarro's pot would be returned.

Navarro, 24, of Anderson said in an earlier interview that he was driving
in Redding in March 1999 when a city police officer stopped him for a
vehicle registration violation.

"He asked me if I had any drugs, weapons or dead bodies in the car,"
Navarro said. "I let him look. I had six bags, a little under 2 ounces
total, and I gave him my legal (doctor's) recommendation to use marijuana."

Navarro said a doctor from Lake County had recommended marijuana to replace
the lithium and Prozac he had been taking to treat clinical anxiety, panic
attacks and depression.

He said the officer told him that Scott had told law enforcers to "arrest
everybody" and let the district attorney's office decide whether to

Navarro's attorney, Michael Sharpe of Redding, said no reason was given for
dropping the charge.

"I believe they couldn't prove the case," said Sharpe, a public defender.
"There was no evidence whatsoever that he possessed marijuana for sale -- n
money, no scales. The charges never should have been filed."

"They just gotta leave these people alone," Navarro said.

Navarro's brother, David, is a paraplegic who founded the Redding Cannabis
Cultivation Cooperative to distribute marijuana to people with chronic
illnesses after Proposition 215 was approved by voters in 1996.

David Navarro was arrested in 1997 on a federal charge of conspiracy to
grow marijuana after drug agents arrested several marijuana growers who
said they were going to sell it to the club.

The charge against David Navarro was dropped later that year, but the club
closed down.

"So that forces the medical marijuana users in Northern California to buy
it on the street," Shane Navarro said.

Shane Navarro said he is likely to attempt to get his marijuana back later
this week. He said he also is frustrated because even though the charge was
dropped, he's still out the $1,015 he paid to bail out of jail.

Another medicinal marijuana user, Richard Levin, 49, of Redding, tried to
get his pot back last month after having been acquitted of a similar
charge. Federal agents seized Levin's marijuana from the Shasta County
sheriff's office just minutes before he went to retrieve it.

In a separate case, Dan Craig, a 51-year-old disabled Vietnam veteran who
lives in Redding, said Tuesday that he was notified late last week that
Scott's office will not file charges against him for possession of
marijuana found when Redding police stopped him Sept. 20.

Craig said police also took his doctor's medicinal marijuana recommendation
and his marijuana and he has been unable to get either returned.

Meanwhile, in Tehama County, medicinal marijuana user Chris Ward appeared
in court Tuesday in an attempt to obtain an order that Tehama County
authorities return marijuana they took from his home last year with a
search warrant. Ward was not arrested or charged.

His hearing was postponed until Feb. 17.

Reporter Maline Hazle can be reached at 225-8266 or at  ---
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